Spirited Fruit (and Sangria)


17 Sep Spirited Fruit (and Sangria)

Spirited fruit preserves - TheMessyBaker.com

I am not to be trusted. I head to the Farmers’ Market with a clearly written list and rock solid resolve. And what do I return with? Way more items than intended and a feeling of panic. Where will I store all these plums? When will I have time to make pear jam? Should I freeze, can or hide the peaches?

Of course, things fall apart when I toss tomatoes designated for preserving into a salad or gobble a handful of blueberries because they are too perfect for anything else but in-the-moment indulgence.

You cannot imagine my relief — your maybe you can– when I stumbled up  a couple of preserving methods that are as flexible on quantity as I am about my shopping list. The methods are outlined in the ever-so-handy Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (Robert Rose ©2012).

Life’s short. Let’s start with the fruit. While the recipe calls for specific amounts, I soldiered on and made it with less than the requested amount of fruit. The leftover syrup formed the base of a very peachy makeshift Sangria. Seems you can have your boozy preserves and drink it, too. How perfect is that?

Below are two recipes. One for spirited fruit, as editors Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine intended. The other is for my improvised Sangria — just in case. I’ll post about preserving tomatoes once the alcohol from the pear and peaches wears off.

What do you do with your awkward quantities of fruit and veggies? I’m running low on freezer room and would love more ideas.

Spirited Fruit
Recipe type: Preserves
Cuisine: North American
Prep / inactive time: 
Cook / active time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 7 8-ounce (250 mL) jars
Spirited fruits are a wonderful way bring out the full-boded flavour of the fruit with out overpowering its natural flavour. Ideal for glazing ham, spirited fruit can also jazz up dessert. Use them to fill crepes, spoon them over ice cream or bake them into a clafoutis.
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 7 cups sliced, pitted, peeled peaches, treated to prevent browning (see notes for quantities required with other fruits)
Per 250 mL (1 cup) jar
  • 1 tablespoon rum or brandy (OR 1½ teaspoons liqueur like peach schnapps)
  1. Prepare canner, jars and lids. See notes section for link to detailed instructions.
  2. In a large stainless steel saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add the fruit, stirring constantly, and return to a boil. Reduce heat and gently boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, pack apricots into hot jars to within a generous ½ inch of top of jar and add the spirit of choice. Ladle hot syrup into jar to cover the fruit, leaving headspace, if necessary, by adding hot syrup. Wipe rim. Centre lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
  4. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 20 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.
Spirited Fruit Variations:

• 4 cups sliced, pitted, peeled apricots, treated to prevent browning
• 8½ cups quartered, peeled, cored pears, treated to prevent browning
• 12 cups washed and drained blueberries (process for 15 minutes)
• 5 cups cherries with pits (7½ cups unpitted cherries if you want to pit them first) (process for 10 minutes)

How to Prevent Fruit From Browning: To prevent apples, apricots, peaches, and pears from turning brown once cut, submerge cut fruit in a mixture of ¼ cup lemon juice and 4 cups water.

New to canning? Ball has detailed instructions, complete with videos, on how to get started.

Spirited Fruit Sangria
Recipe type: Improv
Cuisine: Beverage
Prep / inactive time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 to 6
If you have left over sugar syrup from preserving fruit, use it as a base for this makeshift sangria. What it lacks in authenticity, it makes up for in flavour.
  • 2 cups syrup left over from spirited fruit
  • 1 bottle white wine, 750 mL (I used a Vidal.)
  • ¼ cup orange liqueur
  • 1 cup diced fresh fruit, if desired
  • 1 handful chopped lemon verbena
  • 2 cups seltzer water
  1. Put the syrup, wine, liqueur, lemon verbena and chopped fresh fruit, if using, in a jug. Stir and refrigerate until cold.
  2. When ready to serve, pour over ice, making sure you get some of the fruit (if you used it) in each glass. Add seltzer water to taste, and enjoy.
Use any flavoured liqueur you think will go with the fruit. Ginger, orange, raspberry, cassis and cherry go well with most fruits.



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  • Kathryn
    Posted at 11:25h, 17 September Reply

    My resolve of ‘just what you need’ before stopping at a farm turned into ‘sure, a bushel of roma tomatoes will be perfect’. Then, who can’t use a few more beets … and those lovely beans…

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:32h, 17 September Reply

      And the luscious ever-bearing strawberries … and those amazing apricots… and the carrots!

      Two peas in a pod or what. I’ll post the tomato solution soon. It’s very easy and I’m thrilled to have found a method that doesn’t require you to purchase a bushel of veggies — although I do.

      Enjoy the harvest!

  • FredaVelting
    Posted at 20:45h, 01 June Reply

    Making a ‘rumpot’ using brandy, cherries and honey. After the required amount of time,(three months), I will strain and bottle juice. What to do with the fruit? Can’t waste it! Can I can the cherries………….. brandy soaked? Will my jars explode in canner?

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:26h, 02 June Reply

      I agree that you shouldn’t waste the fruit. Oh, the things you could make. I’m not sure about the canning. I haven’t tried canning fruit that has already been soaked in alcohol and would hate to mislead you. However, you should be able to freeze the brandy-soaked fruit. It would be much faster and the frozen brandied-fruit would keep for a good year.

    • Freda Velting
      Posted at 13:34h, 24 October Reply

      Many rumpots are finally done for this year. Have bottled the different juices and canned some of the fruit. I now have cherry brandy,raspberry brandy, blackberry brandy, apple brandy, peach brandy and pineapple rum liqueurs.
      Canned the spirited cherries, blackberries and pineapple chunks. The rest of the fruits disintegrated too much. I put the above fruits in 250ml jars, added water and processed. Tasty and a kick to boot.

      • Charmian Christie
        Posted at 18:59h, 28 October Reply

        That sounds amazing! I adore fruit brandy, especially peach and raspberry. I’m making some myself this year, although the wait is killing me. Raise a glass for me!

  • maria
    Posted at 10:38h, 02 April Reply

    Hi, so I want to make spirited pineapple, but I have no idea how much pineapple to use, for the recipe above, how much pineapple would I use in place of other fruit??

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 18:40h, 02 April Reply

      That’s a really good question. I’ve never seen a recipe for spirited pineapple. My guess, and it’s just a guess, would be to use one large pineapple. I’m now very curious to see how it turns out. If you do end up making it, I’d love to know the results. Cheers!

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